Back In Action With Captain Action!

By | Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Leave a Comment
I picked up Captain Action #0 today as a taste for Moonstone's Captain Action series coming out later this year. I'm curious about the book for something of a combination of reasons. First, it's written by Fabian Nicieza who, for my money, ranks up there with Roger Stern as never having written a bad comic. (Although some are certainly better than others, but I've never read one that I didn't enjoy.) Second, I'm largely unfamiliar with the Captain Action property, and am curious to see if it's enticing enough of a premise to hold my attention.

There are effectively three parts to this issue. The first half is essentially a history of Captain Action and the A.C.T.I.O.N. Directorate. The second half is a basic set-up of where the series is starting, and a quick introduction to the new/current Captain Action. Those two halves are separated by a two-page text piece by Michael Eury giving an overview of the Captain Action license.

As I said, I'm largely unfamiliar with Captain Action, but the first half of the story provided a solid synopsis that I feel totally comfortable jumping into #1 when it comes out. Interestingly, after reading the text piece, it also appears that Nicieza came up with some creative ways of reconciling the different approaches to Captain Action that have been used over the years. I get the sense that long-time fans of the property will be appeased regardless of which version(s) they prefer. Having spent many years steeping myself in marvel continuity, I've seen the dangers of adhering too stringently to continuity, but the second half of the book sets up the series from essentially a new starting point. In effect, this gives current and future creators ample room to go in different directions without belaboring old history, but still makes it available for springboards if desired. Which isn't to say that it can't still be screwed up, but the slate is clean to begin at least.

Marc Sparacio's art is good, by and large. Both the illustration style and the storytelling narrative are smooth and service the book well. If I had to serve up a complaint, it would be one scene where masked agents attack the titular hero in his bedroom. Unlike the rest of the book, that portion is strangely stiff. Technically, well-executed, but stiff. It's especially curious in light of the other scenes which are more fluid, including several which are little more than people standing around. Generally, artists seem to have more problems with non-action, so that an action sequence is more rigid stands out.

All in all, it's a good read and I'll be coming back for #1. That said, it is a zero issue, so it's not going to be terribly integral to the overall story. And it's certainly a niche book which I suspect many people will avoid because of that -- it's a little mainstream for many indie fans and not mainstream enough for the superhero set. A solid recommendation, perhaps, for those looking to branch out of superheroes but not yet ready for Fantagraphics. Also a solid recommendation for Nicieza fans.
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